In My Snug Kitchen

Snug, comfy, homey, cozy, warm…these are synonyms from the Thesaurus that characterise my kitchen this past month. What a contrast to this time last year! A year ago, the place resembled a bomb site – as described in my post at that time, Kitchen Archaeology. All that work done under the floor to insulate our old Victorian kitchen.

kitchen_rubble_underfloorBefore: November 2013

kitchen_floor2014After: November 2014

Not only has the ambience warmed as a result of those structural improvements, but I’ve found myself seeking recipes for warming comfort foods as the weather turns cooler and wetter, and dusk creeps ever earlier on the hands of the clock – particularly as the clocks have moved back into daylight savings time. Lots of sustaining soups and hearty homemade pastas have been made this past month – such as Spinach, Lemon and Lentil soup (from the Lebanese and Syrian cookbook, Saha by Greg and Lucy Malouf, under review by The Cookbook Guru), my grandmother’s Pepper Pot soup (recipe coming soon which combines both the soup and pasta theme), and Garfagnana-style maccheroni with a meaty ragù.

maccheroni

And then, there is my autumn go-to book, French Farmhouse Cookbook with recipes for hazelnut and honey spread, a Breton onion “marmalade” called lipig (great on flatbreads or as a basis for French Onion soup), and also duck confit and rillette. For the latter, I used a hybrid from the recipe in French Farmhouse Cookbook and from Celia’s detailed instructions in her earlier post, A Weekend of Confit. It’s a brilliant post that demystifies the seemingly complex art of making confit.

duck_rillette

New in my kitchen are two bowls. I’m a sucker for nesting mixing bowls and have lost count of how many sets I actually have. These are from the British potters Mason and Cash, a series called “In the Forest”. One depicts hedgehogs (in moss green) and the other owls (in mushroom mocha). There are two more larger bowls which I have my eye on – rabbits and foxes. All of them in soft forest colours. Perhaps in my kitchen next month?

mason_cash_bowls_feature

One or another of my mixing bowls might come in handy for my annual apple butter making. (Let’s face it, mixing bowls are always handy.) My recipe for spicy apple butter is contained in one of my earliest posts. It prompts childhood memories and is a comforting reminder that some things never change. Apples are the mellow fruits of the season that John Keats immortalised in his 1820 poem To Autumn, but quinces, pears, and plums would also fit happily into the category.

apple_butter_making2014

With the bulk of my quince harvest, I followed Sandra’s (@ Please Pass the Recipe) instructions to make Ruby Red Quince – lovely oven poached quince slices. Some of those quince were used to make a Quince Küchen. The cake that went down so well that there were repeated bakings in fairly quick succession.

quince_kuchen

The last of the quince has been frozen in its poaching liquid ready for more cakes, or perhaps a quince and cinnamon ice cream – a flavour idea that I’ve been toying with in anticipation of the delivery of my new professional ice cream machine for my birthday. (But…I’m not really supposed to know about it…yet!) What could be more comforting than ice cream? Sure, it’s heading towards winter, but ice cream is a cure-all for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), isn’t it? 😉

A monthly IMK (In My Kitchen) post. Check out the fabulous Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who lists all of us IMK bloggers, writing about what’s been happening in our kitchens each month. A chronological listing of my In My Kitchen blog posts can be found on a separate page, just click the link or look under the heading of Diaries in the Menu bar above.
Advertisements

50 comments

  1. It’s heating up here in Brisbane as Summer starts to kick in properly, but your post makes me want to snuggle up on the couch with a cup of tea or soup and a good book. Wonderful round up for this month. 🙂

    Like

    • That polar difference in seasons always makes me pause for thought. And, the thought of Christmas in summer is quite alien to me, but I guess the opposite would be odd for you… I love autumn comfort foods, but always look forward to salad days, lots of fresh berries from the garden and BBQs. I’ll be reading your lovely summery posts with envy, shivering here in the Northern Hemisphere!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mason & Cash are great and so British! I fell in love with the little hedgehogs first and had to have the bowl. Since I was on foot, I could only carry so much home. Next time, I’ll go in the car!

      Like

  2. It’s been a busy month in your kitchen Deb! We’re still getting wintery days, interspersed with summer as is typical of Melbourne, so soup and ice cream are quite a natural fellowship here. You can never have too many mixing bowls, especially bowls of substance like Mason & Cash!

    Like

    • I talked a out your ice cream machine so much that my husband must have listened! Am taking it on a test drive soon. Lots of different flavour ideas swirling around in my head. I love Mason & Cash bowls, but this series is special. I really love the hedgehogs.

      Like

    • As I just wrote to Cherry (@Cheergram and the Silly Yak), I’m trying to enjoy each season as it comes. So, right now, I’m enjoying autumnal comfort foods, but there will come a time when I’ll be yearning for salads and cool long drinks.

      Like

  3. Oh wow, snap Debi! I too bought a Mason Cash bowl last week. A lovely big 29cm one in beige. Yours are gorgeous, what lovely colours and patterns. They sure do make excellent bowls.

    Like

    • I have the standard Mason and Cash beige nested series (with the characteristic diamond pattern), but these were something I hadn’t seen before. I like the whimsical animals, leaves and trees depicted. The colours are lovely, too. You are right, they are sturdy bowls, useful for all sorts of things.

      Like

  4. I love this post. Your kitchen seems so lovely. I like the French theme too. I need to make confit! Lovely bowls. And I love the apple butter and poem 🙂

    Like

  5. Thanks for posting this. At a time when I’ve given up hope for our kitchen I really needed to see such a transformation. I may need to call on you for some design tips!

    Like

    • All construction work tends to wear on you after a while. We set up a temporary “kitchen” in our living room for about 2 months last year – with microwave, electric kettle and slow cooker – with a refrigerator in the basement. I was beginning to tear my hair out (figuratively, of course!). But, once it’s over…well, normality returns. And, you have an improved kitchen! Glad my little post gave you hope!

      Like

  6. That’s a beautiful new floor in your kitchen, more so knowing that it’s heated. Nothing cozy about walking across cold floors in the Winter. I, too, made apple butter and am looking forward to your Grandmother’s pepper pot soup. If it has pepper and pasta I know I’m going to love it. 🙂

    Like

    • Though the winter cold here is nothing like the Upper Midwest, I am certainly glad we insulated! Autumn for me means apple butter. The smell of warm cinnamon and tart apples is one of my earliest memories of my grandmother’s kitchen. She was also the creator of that Pepper Pot soup. It’s being posted later this week…

      Like

  7. Ooh Debi, thank you for the linky, I’m glad the confit worked well for you! You’ve reminded me that I need to make some more! And you’re the second IMK post with those gorgeous mixing bowls – I’m resisting because a. I think they might be heavy, and b. I have no idea where to store them. But you’re all waving temptation at me! 😀 I’m glad your kitchen is snug, comfy, homey, cozy and warm! x

    Like

    • Hi Celia, Your post(s) on confit making really helped and made me confident enough to make my own duck confit – some of which I turned into a very yummy rillette (along with a reserved duck liver and herbs from the garden). Honestly, temptation? Somehow I see your influence on all those people (including me) who have been eyeing Römertopf pots. 😀 Well, when all is said and done, we do need at least one clay pot AND mixing bowls do come in handy. But, you are right…finding space for them is a big problem. I’d rather have a warm cozy kitchen even if I don’t have space for a collection of clay pots and innumerable nested mixing bowl sets!

      Like

  8. Debi, it seems everyone has a hankering for those bowls! I have two in blue, but think mine are a bit of an imitation item. They certainly didn’t cost as much as M and C bowls, but they’re my first and it’s baby steps 🙂 Your kitchen sounds so warm, cosy and inviting. My kitchen is getting hotter and hotter as the days get longer and the summer kicks in, but I love it. Thank god for evaporative cooling! Everything grows here in summer, so it’s a very exciting time.

    Lovely looking into your kitchen this November.

    Like

    • The bowls are great. Mason and Cash, being British potters, are standard mixing bowls here and I expect the price is a bit less than in Australia/US/elsewhere when they have to be exported. Shame, really, as they are really good quality, everyday mixing bowls – and pretty! I’m still getting used to the notion of half the world heading towards summer while we head towards winter. Intellectually, I knew this happened, but when you actually start communicating with people on the other side of the world, it becomes real!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m loving that photo of the Garfagnana-style maccheroni with a meaty ragù – is there a recipe that you’ve shared or is it in a cookbook? Loving the new kitchen floors too, great ambience. Thank you for letting us peek in your kitchen, see you next month at IMK

    Like

    • The Mason Cash bowls are lovely. I know that until recently they were manufactured in northern England, but they are now produced in Portugal (another country with a long ceramic tradition), but I hadn’t heard that they were produced in Thailand. Perhaps they are imitations? But, who knows with big business – they move around a lot. You’re right – the quince cake was marvellous! Luckily I still have some quince pieces in the freezer for more cakes!

      Like

    • Can’t take the credit for the floors…we had a wonderful team of builders who over saw the installation, though my husband and I did source the reclaimed wood. I also love these bowls, but I think I may have a mixing bowl fetish. 😄

      Like

  10. I love those nesting bowls, a set is on my wish list, but I’m not sure where I will fit them when I do get them… Everything looks as delish out as always in your kitchen… Thanks for sharing! Liz x

    Like

Comments are closed.